Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 in Points and Miles

2013 is over and it was a year different than the rest of the 29 years of my life. For more reasons than one. I turned 30 and my wife gave me the best present I have received so far in my life. I did my first AoR and then another one and then one for my wife and it was fun!! I flew more this year that I have done in any year – that’s 26 flights spanning 45,203 miles. Unfortunately none of them were with miles. Fortunately, I did not pay for any of them, but oneJ. My company did the rest. My wife on the other hand did 17 flights spanning 40,218 miles. I know people who do more than that in a month, but then, such is life..!!

I started my first ever AoR in June of 2013. A few days before my 30th Birthday. At that point, between me and my wife we had no United account, no AAdvantage account, no SPG account, no Hilton Honors account, no Marriott Rewards account, no IHG account, no Amex MR points or account and some paltry 20-25k in our BA account. So, how did my Miles and Points Balance stack up this year after that. Let’s find out:

1.       American Airlines – My First AoR yielded me 50,000 Points. That’s points that I did not pay for and can use for flying to other cities.  Great start. Thank you Citi Bank.

2.       United Miles – Chase gave me this one. 50,000 miles for the spend challenge and another 5,000 for authorized user. No need to tell you how valuable United miles are, right?

3.       Marriott – 70,000 Marriott Points and one free night in category 1-4 property. That is just great. Already used it on my trip to Niagara Falls for the 4th of July weekend.

4.       SPG – 25,000 points for the challenge. Coupled with the actual 5,000 spend, that’s 30,000 SPG points. And when transferred to my choice of airline in multiples of 20,000, that would yield another 5,000 miles. Sweet!

5.       My last card on the AoR list, which I think in hindsight was a mistake – Amex Gold – earned me 25,000 MR points. They have a decent list of Airlines and Hotels I can convert these points to.

So for a few hours of effort, then a little bit of planned expenses and some support from the manufactured expenses technique, I earned a cool 225,000 miles and points, not including the actual spend miles, which is another 12,000 miles. Once I was done with this, I was hooked. I made a few mistakes along the way, but learnt a few lessons as well.

Before long, September was on us and it was time for my second AoR, 91 days later. But I decided to give it a few more days and do Round One for my wife first, who had a decent credit score by now. And here’s what she came good on:

1.       American Airlines- Scored 50,000. Simple and straightforward.

2.       United – Another 55,000 in the family. Real points.

3.       British Airways – 50,000 points to add to her small flying miles balance. And then there’s the additional 50,000 points she is yet to complete the challenge for. Already used all of these miles earned for a spur of the moment weekend travel to San Francisco. More on that, in the next post.

4.       Hilton Honors-Her first hotel points. A cool 50,000 points

5.       SPG – Same drill. 25,000 valuable SPG Points.

So by the end of 3-4 months, my wife is richer by 230,000 miles and points. The actual spends of 11,750 points. And not to mention, she will soon have the additional 25,000 and 25,000 from British Airways. That will take 3-4 months, but it will happen, no doubt.

That brings me to my AoR 2. More mistakes this time than I was planning to make. But more lessons to be learnt on the way:

6.       Hilton Honors- 50,000 points, to add to my wife’s balance. 100,000 in the family are good enough for some of the best places after all.

7.       British Airways – Not the most valuable miles out there (compared to United and AAdvantage) but still, with our regular flying US-UK-India on BA, a hefty  50,000 Avios Miles goes a long way. And additional 25,000 and 25,000 coming up in the next 3-4 months. That’s a lot of Avios.

So my small stint made me richer by 100,000 points & miles and more are expected.

So, in a little over 6 months, my wife and I have collected almost 600,000 points through 12 different credit cards and are expecting some 145,000 points more and these are just through our AoR’s. Our individual credit scores are better now than what they were 6 months ago (though it did take some plunges and flights in between) and our out of pocket cost was limited to some VR cards purchases.

There were a LOOOTTT of lessons learnt the past year. Mostly good. There would be more Points and Miles that will be earned and more lessons that will be learnt. And some won’t be as nice as the other ones, but that’s a part of this game and life, so bring it on.

So, how was your 2013 in Points and Miles.. how many did you collect and how many did you burn ? and most importantly, how much did you fly.. leave a comment and tell me about it..